After leading through much of the early stages of the race, the Paul Miller Racing team finished the season-ending Petit Le Mans in fifth place following contact from an LMP3 car.
Starting from pole in the hands of Madison Snow, the No. 1 Quartz Engine Oil-backed BMW M4 GT3 machine dominated early in the race around Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Snow and co-drivers Bryan Sellers and Erik Johansson would lead 102 laps in the first three quarters of the race, and even led the entire GT field for much of the 10-hour event.
However, with 90 minutes to go, Snow would suffer contact from an LMP3 car already several laps down in its class, cutting a tire on the No. 1 and forcing it to take unscheduled service.
Though the contact would drop the car to seventh, the team rallied to a fifth-place finish at the checkered flag.
“Today was a really hard-fought day for everyone,” Paul Miller Racing team manager, Mitchell Simmons, said.
“For being an endurance race, there’s always a little bit of a sprint mentality, where people are fighting hard for all 10 hours. It makes for a really exciting race, and it was great to see just how many fans turned out to watch.
“Over the course of this race, we had a mirror hit—which we replaced the glass in. Then the mirror was hit again, removing it entirely, necessitating us to replace the entire door. Followed by the puncture.
“Fifth isn’t what we wanted, but it’s really a testament to the crew that we could suffer through all of these problems and none of our time was lost by errors on pit lane. They and our drivers all did a great job today to bring home fifth place in a really tough race.”
The result is the ninth top-five finish for Paul Miller Racing this year—and their best result in an Endurance Cup race this season.
Missing the first race of the year at Daytona International Speedway, the team would suffer from contact in the next two endurance cup races that would knock them out of contention, with an LMP2 car in Sebring and a fellow GTD car in Watkins Glen.
The team fared much better in the sprint races in 2022, securing the Sprint Cup championship with two wins, five podiums and a worst finish of just fifth place in the Sprint Cup events.
The string of strong results also helped secure BMW the Manufacturers’ championship both overall and in the Sprint Cup.
“It’s been a remarkable season for us,” Paul Miller Racing team owner, Paul Miller, said.
“It’s the first year of the BMW M4 GT3 and we were lucky enough to win the first championship globally with the car. We also helped BMW score two of their own Manufacturers’ titles to go along with the Sprint Cup win for us. It’s been a great first year of this relationship with BMW and we’re grateful for the support we’ve had to be more and more competitive as the year has gone on.
“I’m very proud of everyone on this team for tackling the challenge of a brand new car—new for everyone, not even just us!—with such a high degree of success. They worked so hard all year to continue to learn and improve the M4 and I’m glad we got to see so much success in year one.”
The 25th running of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta concludes the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. Announcements regarding 2023 plans for the Paul Miller Racing team will be made at a later date.
“We had a good car this race. The crew was absolutely flawless—didn’t make any mistakes in the pits, we had a perfect strategy, and we had the best car I think we’ve had all year. It’s always good to see improvement, and we’ve been improving all year with this brand new car. Unfortunately, it didn’t end up the way we hoped it would this race, but this team never gave up and we have a lot of good results this year to show for all their hard work.”
“It was a really disappointing day, to be honest. I want to take a positive swing at it, but this one was just really tough. I think we had a car not just all race, but all week, that we felt really good about—that we felt could win. And, to not even get on the podium is pretty heartbreaking. I was looking forward to the off season and some downtime, and now I’m just looking forward to the start of next year just so we can go back racing again and not end on this note. But, despite the result I’m still so proud of everything this team has done not just this week, but this whole year. It’s been a definite challenge to come to grips with the new car, and to be disappointed with fifth is a sign we’re doing something right here.”
“It’s really unfortunate that in all three of my outings with Paul Miller Racing contact with other cars we weren’t even fighting with ultimately decided the fate of our races. With regards to the rest of the race today, we had super strong pace. We were up front most of the race and looked good all the way through practice and qualifying with Madison scoring pole. Both Madison and Bryan did a super job during the event. I think we had a really strong car and a really strong crew and to finish P5 today, it’s kind of disappointing because we had the potential for so much more.”
Source. Paul Miller Racing